Kelkel M.,Laboratoire Of Biologie Mol E Culaire Et Cellulaire Du Cancer |
Schumacher M.,Laboratoire Of Biologie Mol E Culaire Et Cellulaire Du Cancer |
Dicato M.,Laboratoire Of Biologie Mol E Culaire Et Cellulaire Du Cancer |
Diederich M.,Laboratoire Of Biologie Mol E Culaire Et Cellulaire Du Cancer
Free Radical Research | Year: 2011
The recent search for new anti-cancer drugs focuses more on natural compounds from the regular human diet because these compounds rarely exhibit severe side-effects yet efficiently act on a wide range of molecular targets involved in carcinogenesis. One promising compound, which is now being tested in clinical studies, is the tomato-derived carotenoid lycopene. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the cellular action of lycopene and presents the molecular targets responsible for its remarkable chemopreventive and anti-proliferative activity. Its antioxidant effects include a considerable reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging activity, which allows lycopene to prevent lipid peroxidation and DNA damage. Simultaneously, lycopene induces enzymes of the cellular antioxidant defense systems by activating the antioxidant response element transcription system. As another chemopreventive strategy, lycopene increases gap junctional communication, which is suppressed during carcinogenesis. This review focuses also on the synergistic effects of lycopene with other natural antioxidants that might be important for its future application in anti-cancer treatment. Lastly, this review provides evidence for the biological activity of some oxidized lycopene metabolites, which seem to be partially responsible for the strong and manifold anti-cancer potential of lycopene. © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd.